Thursday, 22 January 2015

Yesterday I attended the Masterclass on 'Stocks and Sauces' at the Masons Arms, Knowstone.  This is a lovely thatched pub, just off the North Devon Link Road (A361) in a very quiet village location.

There were 6 of us and we enjoyed sitting in the lounge, next to the woodburner, chatting to Sarah, eating her homemade biscuit and having a coffee. It was great to watch Mark Dodson, the Michelin starred chef, work his magic in the kitchen, alongside some very dedicated and professional members of staff.  Mark used to work with Michel Roux at the Waterside Inn, Bray.

I learnt lots of little facts about the basis of making good stocks and sauces.  I think everyone was surprised at how easy the sauces were to make (e.g grain mustard sauce, red berry coulis).  I liked the fact that both savoury and sweet sauces were covered.  I also liked being able to taste the sauces as they were being made.  It was also really interesting to see a commercial kitchen in action.  I think there were 5 chefs in there - it seemed to us to be a small area, but apparently it is comparitively quite a large kitchen.


Pictured below are the veal stock (complete with 4 pigs trotters) and the chicken stock.


At about midday we were ushered through to the dining area for a three course slap up lunch and then coffee with petits fours.  The views of the Devon countryside and Exmoor were stunning.  A big surprise was the ceiling - covered in paintings - a unique touch.  Apparently they have been there approximately 40 years.  The chap who sat opposite me was local and filled us in on some of the local news and we could see his hedge being laid through the window!  There is also a bar area that is separate from the dining area.

During this lunch we were able to sample all the sauces that had been made during the morning's class - I think there were 6 in total - all delicious.  We also got to try out some of Mark's creations: mushroom tartlet, pork loin with vegetables (and mustard sauce) and a panna cotta served with the three sauces that we had seen being made.



I recommend this place as a venue for honing some cookery skills, and also as a place to eat,  It is not local to me (about 50 min drive away) but ideal if you are based in Barnstaple, Tiverton, Dulverton or South Molton.  This might sound awful, but it would be a good place to stop and have a break if you were travelling on the North Devon Link road too.

I was a guest at the cookery class and lunch, and I have written an objective review of the day.

http://www.masonsarmsdevon.co.uk/

Devon Cafe Review: The Crab Shack, Back Beach, Teignmouth

Went there in December 2014 with S and K.  Good food, great service.  Next table's seafood platter was HUGE and looked great.  Glad that we had made a reservation.  Third time of visiting - I will be back. Winter sunshine streaming in.  Very friendly greeting.